Tuesday, March 2, 2021

Age of Excuse

Somehow the leadership space seems to have turned upside down. It happened in slow motion...sort of. Sensitive issues moved to the front page and that made people nervous, the whole vaccine saga continues to play out, and our oddly polarized society seems to think each of us must rally behind either a far right or far left leader.

How about we pause for a moment?

Basics

For many years I've taken pride in how I react to the fires that pop up. I run toward them, not away. I want to talk about the spark that started the fire, what dynamics created the circumstances that led to the conditions being right for the fire to start, and I certainly want to have a candid discussion about how to avoid that fire ever starting again.

To me, this is basic leadership.

What seems to have happened though, is that many leaders would prefer to pick sides and place blame. Most either want to avoid uncomfortable conversations or simply pick a group to align themselves with and then go all in.

Why?

Isn't one of the most basic leadership principles that we think for ourselves? That we question what is going on and why? Aren't we supposed to talk with our colleagues about why something is happening?

Courage

Maybe leaders today have simply gotten soft? It's easier to hide and avoid the heavy lifting required to actually lead. So, instead they just glide over the tough issues, and "expect people to behave professionally." 

I submit that many leaders today have lost courage. Their focus is on a CYA approach to managing, not leading, and the results have played out everywhere.

Clearly this doesn't apply to everyone. I know many leaders who take bold steps inside their organizations to raise issues; they challenge cowardly thinking; and push their organizations to do the right thing.

Why isn't that a core competency for leaders in our complicated world?

How About You

Please share your perspective with me. Have I become cynical; or, has leadership changed in our hyper-political pandemic-laden society?

I'd love to hear from you.

No Excuses.

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Wednesday, February 17, 2021

Exercises in Futility

 Life is hard.

Work is hard.

Relationships are hard.

Being disciplined is hard.

Staying motivated is hard.

Being there for someone...everyone...is hard.

Making the right choice is hard.

Being what everyone wants you to be is hard.

Delivering consistently is hard.

Staying true to yourself is hard.

Finding your faith is hard.

Letting go is hard.

Rebuilding is hard.

Pushing yourself is hard.

Believing in yourself is hard.



...but none of it...absolutely none of it is an exercise in futility.

You can do it.

You can be it.

You are enough.

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Monday, February 8, 2021

What's Your Advice to a Young Leader?

I've had many opportunities over the years to work with a growing number of young leaders (both in years and experience.) I think that means I'm quite a bit older than I care to admit.

Our conversations invariably come around to "my story" or "how did I get where I am" in my career. The answer is always a mix of education, hard work, big risks, effective mentors (both good and bad, but effective in their own way), and a little luck thrown in.

Your Top 3

When you're sitting across your desk (or zoom screen) from a younger member of your leadership team, what conversations do you have? Of course you run through work tasks, but that's now what I'm talking about.

How do you share your insights, experience, and the countless times you've learned over the course of your career?

Let's kick these around a bit...I think it would be interesting to hear how we each prioritize the Top 3 items young leaders should focus on.

Here are mine:

1. Listen.

Regardless of the education, internships, or entry level supervisory work our young leaders may have in their background, leadership is a whole different animal. Listening allows them to slow down, learn, and then process that information before moving too quickly.

2. Don't be afraid to say you're learning.

Yes, they are confident and ready to take on the world. But acting as if they have it all figured out (when we still don't!) is a sure sign that young leaders need to leverage their learning status. Consider how open people are to helping when someone says how much they want to learn to be the best they can be? That gets people engaged and behind them.


3. Take big risks.

For those that truly aspire to executive roles, they need to make bold moves and take risks to get there. I'm not advocating for reckless behavior; but I am saying that without true risk taking the journey will be painfully slow.

How About You

What's your take on advice for our future senior leaders? Please share!

I'd love to hear from you.

No Excuses.

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Monday, February 1, 2021

Force Multiplier

I've been relatively quiet the last few months here on NoExcusesHR. The crushing noise of the US election, the juvenile behavior from all sides, the shocking racism that has shown itself to be alive and well from the far right....it all just had me feeling like I needed to (mostly) pause.

I'm past that now though. I've posted my feelings quite clearly on multiple social media channels, and really want to focus on leadership topics in the world of work. That is actually the reason I started this blog ten years ago.

Power for Good

One of the absolute privileges of serving in executive roles is the opportunity, and candidly the requirement, that those leaders bring their energy and passion to the workplace.

You may not agree, but let's think about the impact these types of leaders make. Would you rather follow the person who is smart enough to do the job, but shows no enthusiasm, fresh ideas, or avoids taking risks? Or, is the person who is smart enough to do the job that is fired up each day about the incredible things that will happen in the coming months the one you want to be around?

This is a true no-brainer. Energy, passion, and positivity always win. And they should.

Force of Nature

Now I am quite clear that I fall far short of deserving the monicker "force of nature" but I sure as heck believe I can be a force multiplier. I want to consistently be fired up in my work. I want my colleagues to see how much I am trying to bring to our shared mission. I want our team members to notice my positive outlook. 

The goal here is not personal glory. I'm fortunate to have a deep faith, that although I struggle, it helps keep me humble. The real goal here is to honor the responsibility I have as an executive. 

Others are watching...talking about the choices the management team is making...and how those individuals behave.

I want to be an example...in fact I have to be an example if I'm going to live up to the privilege I have been given to serve in this way.

How About You

What responsibilities do you feel in your role? Is it enough to just "be good at your job" or, is there something more that you must do? Be a force multiplier. There is literally nothing holding you back...but you.

I'd love to hear from you.

No Excuses.

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Wednesday, January 27, 2021

Finding My (New) Voice

"The only way to find your voice is to use it." 

- Austin Kleon

Almost a full year into new ways of working, connecting, growing, experiencing... and living. All of the rules have changed, right? Or, maybe all of the rules are exactly the same, but we've decided to overreact and behave differently? 

Should I put forth more effort, or less effort, or the same effort? Are the ways in which we respect each other in the virtual workplace the same as when we all stared at each other across conference room tables?

Some of you are back in those conference rooms again...at least for part of your workweek.

Lots to think about. 

Impact

I spent many years trying to make an impact for the organizations I was privileged to work for, the employees that counted on me, and for the clients that trusted me to work with them.

That feels harder to do from my condo 24/7 instead of face-to-face.

I've found myself thinking about what drives my ability to be impactful. So much of that has been 'my voice.' I defined that almost as much by the energy I could show in the moment in addition to the actual words I chose. Both, for me, were the recipe for my success.

But now...I have to be present differently. My energy has to show in a small square on my laptop during a video meeting. My presentations at conferences are pre-recorded zoom sessions. (no more stage diving for a while.)

My words...in fact, my literal voice, is now more important than ever. My new voice.

Finding Something New

Like many of you, I've had to adjust so many things about how I engage with others: colleagues, clients, business partners. My new voice has to make up for all of that energy that can't be seen in that small onscreen square. (although I still try like crazy to let that energy shine through, somehow.)

My new voice. It's taken me a while to get comfortable with it. It still sounds like the old me, but it feels as if I've transitioned to a new way of doing things. 

The upside of all of this introspection and self-analysis is a massive surge of excitement about all things being new. New ways to connect, inspire, motivate, cajole, joke, impress, stumble, learn, and grow.

I'm up for all of it!

How About You

Where is your voice in 2021? Am I the only one who noticed a change in myself; or, do we share a similar experience of finding our voice all over again?

Stay safe.

I'd love to hear from you.

No Excuses.

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Thursday, December 3, 2020

Where Do We Go From Here

I let a milestone slip by quietly a month or so ago. It was the tenth anniversary of this blog (900 posts strong.) I know, not a big deal in the grand scheme of things. The world has gone absolutely crazy...pandemics have become politicized...and the United States is sadly divided to extremes.

Back to that milestone. I decided to step back from writing for a while. My last two posts about Black Lives Matter and Seeing Color seemed a fitting set of messages that represent how I feel. It didn't seem right to jump back into "the 3 best actions to take to be the leader of the year" type of posts.

Something felt different, and quite honestly I didn't want to say anything more, about any topic, at the time.



Now Things are Different

Historic change has since occurred. The impact on employers, regardless of your political leanings, will be dramatic at the very least. And, the need for leadership that does not include fake news, hoaxes, or outright lies is more important than ever.

Will we get that type of leadership from Washington? I highly doubt it. It's rarely been there before, and the last few years have shown that it has all but evaporated.

So, where do we go from here?

There are of course, several options to fill the massive leadership void. 

Families are a very important part of our communities, and hopefully create a safe place to share our fears, opinions, and outlook going forward.

Our faith also plays a massively important role, for those that have a faith perspective. For me, it brings a level of awareness, teaching, support, guidance, a
strong community, and bigger picture view that rises above the politicization of society.

A third group, and one I feel needs to play an ever more critical role is that of the employer. Providing information, sharing resources and creating opportunities for employees to have real dialogue, and ensure that open lines of communication are well utilized and understood by everyone is more important than ever before.

How About You

It's been ten years since I started my blogging journey. Candidly, if we ever needed leadership that held itself accountable, it is right now. Let's move forward with a fresh spirit of opportunity, excitement about the future, and support for one another. We're all going to need it, right?

I'd love to hear from you.

No excuses.

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Monday, August 31, 2020

I See Color

I see color.

I see the beautiful shades of humanity.


I see the differences between you and me.

I see the unique perspective that you have...

...and that I don't.


I see the insight you bring to the discussion.

I see the passion you feel.


I see the pain that is there below the surface...

...and is sometimes above.


I see the creative solutions you have to offer.

I see my blindness to those ideas...from time to time.



I see the need to rasie awareness with my words and actions...

...even if I feel stuck at times about how to do it best.


Most of all, I see you. All of you.

What do you see?


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